Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Design your space with DIY tips

There is nothing enjoyable about moving. From trying to cram an oversized sofa past a narrow doorway to hauling in suitcase after suitcase full of clothes, the process of transporting all of your belongings can be a nightmare. Factor in Texas’ scorching heat, and moving just becomes brutal.

But once the heavy lifting is finished, decorating your space and turning it into your personal sanctuary can be an exciting way to express yourself. And while it’s easy to add a little texture to a room with a print rug from Urban Outfitters or a pop of color with some fluffy pillows from Target, the cost can add up.

Here are a few creative, cheap and easy do-it-yourself decorations that can instantly add a touch of fun, comfort and style to any room, dorm or apartment.

Play dress-up

Because fabric comes in a slew of colors, textures and patterns, there’s a likable textile for every style. While some college students use fabric as a wallpaper substitute to dress up white, dreary walls, there are other creative ways to use the material: Try canvassing different fabrics that share a similar palette or pattern and hanging them against a wall.

To make the fabric canvases the focal point of the room, choose bold patterns or a loud color.

For each canvas, start with four pieces of wood and either nail the wood together or use wood glue to build a frame. Measure the fabric the same size as the frame with about two inches extra all around. Cut and cover the fabric over one side of the frame. Tuck the ends of fabric into the inside edge of the frame and staple. Hang the canvas as you would a picture frame and you have an easy masterpiece.

Another easy DIY project with fabric is simply using the fabric to cover the outsides of cardboard moving boxes. Not only is reusing moving boxes an efficient way to be eco-friendly, but there’s also always a need for storage and organization, especially in small spaces.

A yard of fabric at any craft store can run high for a college student’s budget. Try searching in the sales and clearance bins for a good bargain.

Paint job

A can of glossy spray paint is an easy method for turning a vintage piece from classic to contemporary. It can be surprising how much life a little paint can give back to an old piece of furniture or a rusty trinket such as a vase or brass candle holders. Garage sales and stores like Savers and Goodwill are good places to find cheap knickknacks to revamp. Old picture frames, clocks and book holders are also great items for this project.

First, clean off the object’s surface with paper towels. Use a square of sand paper to create a rough surface for the paint to stick to. Then, cover the entire object with spray paint in a modern color such as white, black, teal or red. The paint will give the object a sleek, polished surface. Each spray should be one swift motion from left to right or up and down to achieve clean lines. Make sure to paint outdoors, where it is well ventilated.

The great indoors

As most of us were taught in grade school, plants purify air by absorbing pollutants and releasing clean oxygen for us to breathe. Since most dorm and apartment rooms can get stuffy, adding greenery to a room is healthy and decorative.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a green thumb. For college students with busy schedules, tending to a plant may seem potentially disastrous. There are, however, plants that require little maintenance, such as African violets, peace lilies and Christmas cacti.

For creative plant furnishings, try putting together a moss terrarium. A popular decor for coffee tables during the ’70s and ’80s, a moss terrarium is hassle-free. Though the moss does not improve air quality, moss terrariums still add a touch of nature into a living space. Kits to build moss terrariums are available through online boutiques such as, but building one from scratch can be cheaper and more personal.

In a clean, glass container with a lid, fill the bottom of the container with gravel, sand or rocks. Layer about an inch of soil on top and add a layer of moss. Moss can be bought online, at local garden stores, or taken from outside. To give the terrarium a whimsical touch, add toy farm animals or houses to create a make-believe habitat. To maintain the terrarium, mist the moss with a spray bottle about once a week and keep the lid shut at all times to retain moisture.

A touch of whimsy

Sometimes less is more, and having just one standout piece in a room can go a long way in uplifting a space.

Rasterbation, or tile printing, is a unique way to create a personalized decal of a blown up photo of your choice. To rasterize an image, visit to upload, crop and print an image. Make sure to measure the wall where the picture will be before printing. Because of its size, printing one rasterized image can use up an entire cartridge of black ink. After the image is printed, puzzle the pages together on the floor and paste it onto a wall using tacks or double stick tape.

For a playful ambiance, a mobile made from wire and balloons may be the perfect accessory. Anything strung from the wall may seem to be daunting, but hanging mobiles are often easier done then said. Simply blow up a balloon and knot the end. Take some heavy-gauge lead-free solder wires and wrap around the balloon either in a spiral motion or crisscrossed. Be careful not to let the end pop the balloon. When the balloon is covered to your liking, pop the balloon. Make two to three more of varying sizes, and hang the wire-netted balls with some invisible fishing line to make them appear as if they are floating.

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Design your space with DIY tips